Feb 22, 2011

"Angels Among Us"

A newly-arrived Kiki sleeping off the jet lag on the kitchen sofa
During the time period covered in the last post, we didn't know how prophetic the "angels" part was going to be!
Our granddaughter Kierra (Kiki) was in school in Provo, Utah when she heard the news about Hans breaking his leg the day before.
This child is crazy about her grandfather and he is crazy about her.
It was three weeks before the end of the term and she still had all her exams to write. 
Declaring to her mother and father on the phone,
 "They need help!",
she went to each of her professors and explained the situation. 
 Every one of them understood, admired and agreed to work with her so she could pass.. 
(good to have earned great grades with the end of the semester coming up...),
and within one day she had cleared out her apartment,
stored her belongings in the garage of a friend,
asked her boss at the new job she was to start if he would hold it for her,
driven home to Logan two hours north,
booked her ticket, 
 and was ready to leave from the Salt Lake City airport the next morning,
 for Sweden.
We picked her up twenty four hours later at the airport in Umeå,
three hours from the farm.

We were so thrilled to see her!

Once she was rested up that night she was awake bright and early the next morning and out to the barn with us at 5:00 A.M.

We had been trying to get all the cows sheared, but the clipper wouldn't work properly and despite our best efforts we could not figure out why...
SHE fixed it and started right in!

When the shearing  meant being plastered with cow-hair shavings from top to bottom, she fashioned this lovely black-plastic-bag cover-up with Grandpa Hans'  designer approval!
That's him, the strong-willed Swede who insisted on doing the dishes with his broken leg supported on a chair.

   She wowed us with her pizza dough tossing skills,  and then baked up the beauties.   Look at the time on the kitchen clock.. it was coming up for nine at night after a long day, and she was still at it.
Washing the cheeses, (the job everyone hates), meant long hours in the dairy,  but she did it with good humor and excellence.

We had thought that we would not be able to celebrate American Thanksgiving this year as we usually do because we were so pressed with Pappa out of commission,

 but with Kiki to help we had the golden herbed turkey (she made it),
 we had the stuffing (she made it),  we had the sesame rolls from the woodstove (we made them together),

we even had the pumpkin pie (once again a team effort).
With her loving ways and her kind help she was a life saver.

She was the first to come,
but our cup of gratitude was about to run over... 

To our great surprise, and Pappa's total joy, we got a call from Maxie's family saying he had lobbied long and hard and they had agreed that he could come to the farm for the entire Christmas season.
He was barely in the door before the Edin's jacket, the boots, the hat and gloves were on and he was off to get the inside Christmas tree in the tractor with Gustav!
(well, at least he thought he was....)

In fact he was in for the traditional "Swedish Snow Smother" executed in three chilly steps:
1.  Fling subject down into the snow. 
2.  Give him a chance for one second to breathe and try to get up.
(the "give him a chance" part is optional) 

 3.  Cover his head with snow just after he hurriedly gets his hands over his face.
(Maxie was lightening fast and had his hands over quick as a flash).
Fool that I was, I ran out onto the porch thinking Maxie needed to be saved from this particular winter tradition,
but he LOVED it!

A few hours later he and Gustav were back with the tree, setting it up in the salen (dining room) while Kiki checked to be sure it was in the holder straight.

Kiki and Maxie made Gustav's fabulous birthday cake and Pappa watched from the sofa with his poor, sore leg, while the birthday boy blew out the candles and we all sang "Ja, må han leva" the Swedish birthday song.

 Next, they constructed a gingerbread barn, gluing the pieces in place with the help of a blow dryer. This was a project requiring intense concentration.

The completed masterpiece was proudly displayed on the Christmas table.

  Maxie helped in the house, Maxie helped in the barn,

and when some of the light strings on the beautiful Advent tree in the yard kept going off,
he worked tirelessly out in the freezing with Gustav until they all worked again.

Alabama, the country rock group, sings the words from which we drew the title of this post:

"I believe there are angels among us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
The come to you and me in our darkest hours,
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give,
To guide us with the light of love."

The two angels pictured below,
 warming their frosty feet on the woodstove,
 came from places that are oceans apart,
and they came at a time when they were greatly needed to brighten our lives.
Their example was one of sacrifice and service,
and they brought with them
the unmistakable...

Light of Love!

No comments: